Update: Well it turns out the Nokia “Plan B” investors were a hoax all along by one very bored engineer “who really likes his iPhone.” Our hearts go out to all the Nokia fanatics who thought they had investor support.
Nokia’s new partnership with Microsoft is an exciting, but risky, attempt to rejuvenate an ailing company. So of course, stubborn young Nokia stockholders — who for some reason didn’t see any reason to complain as the company failed time and again to innovate over the last few years — announced yesterday that they were protesting the move and called for the removal of Stephen Elop as CEO.
Now, just a day after announcing their “Plan B” for Nokia, the shareholders are backing down from their revolutionary stance.
The group said they were contacted by hundreds of individual Nokia shareholders (who owned anywhere from 10 to 400,000 Nokia shares) who were in support of their plan, but responses from institutional investors “were not encouraging.”
In a blog post, the shareholders wrote: “These institutions have a fiduciary responsibility to their customers and are legally bared from supporting radical initiatives like seating a bunch of kids on the board of directors. If they do not agree with Nokia’s plans, they are better off simply divesting and putting their money in other companies that better fit their investing strategy (which is exactly what they have been doing).”
They also noted that their Plan B scenario would take a long time to take effect, at which point Nokia’s remaining software talent will most likely be gone.
The Plan B shareholders wanted Nokia to return to its homegrown software initiatives, which included focusing on MeeGo as its next-generation OS, and increasing the length of Symbian’s life span. Here’s the problem with that plan: It’s exactly what Nokia has been doing for the past few years — and it hasn’t worked out well. The company has proven that it simply can’t deliver innovative phones fast enough to compete with the likes of the iPhone or Android.
Right now Nokia is a stumbling giant, and it needs the partnership with Microsoft to regain balance. There’s no reason Nokia wouldn’t be able to pursue its own software initiatives after a few years delivering Windows Phone 7 devices — in fact, that’s exactly what Elop has been hinting at. With MeeGo less of a focus, Nokia will be free to look at the next generation of mobile operating systems, instead of just trying to catch up to competitors.